Yesterday, I made a tongue-in-cheek prediction that Republicans across Wisconsin would be calling in sick so they could go down to Milwaukee to protest President Obama's appearance at Master Lock. Little did I know that Governor Scott Walker would be a Republican that would actually follow through on the idea.
Much was made on Tuesday about how the Governor was going to meet with the President and appear with him at Master Lock. Then Wednesday morning, Walker's office announced that he had come down with the stomach flu--and would not be meeting with the President. That was then clarified to state that the Governor would meet the President at the airport and give him a personalized Brewers jersey--but not accompany him on the trip to the plant. Apparently, a couple dozen protesters missed that memo as they showed up at Master Lock with "recall Walker" signs.
The whole thing got me thinking about sick days. I have taken exactly one and a half sick days since I started working at the age of 16. One of those was when I had the chicken pox in high school and my boss at the restaurant didn't want me anywhere near there. The half-day came when I literally got sick--mid-story on the air--in the radio studio up in Marinette-Menominee. That's it--23-years of work--one and half sick days.
I'm lucky in that I hardly ever get sick. But when I do, I still feel like I'm obligated to put in the best effort that I can on that day. A lot of it deals with guilt--thinking that I am putting an even greater burden on my already over-stretched co-workers to not only get their work done--but then do some of mine as well. It could also be the "Wally Pipp/Lou Gehrig syndrome" where you fear that if you miss a day, your replacement will have the job forever after that.
On the flip side, I know people who use every single sick day to which they are entitled--every single year. I am amazed by their body's "regularity" in always getting too ill to work the maximum number of times it is allowed--without costing that person any money. And just as amazingly, once those sick days are used up in say, November--those December "head colds" and "upset stomachs" are just tolerable enough to still come to work--and then complain to everyone in the entire office about just how terrible they feel, but they don't have any sick days left to take.
I can't really blame the "sick to the max" crowd for taking advantage of the system. I work in a private-sector environment--meaning we don't get to carryover our sick time from year to year. We use it or lose it (same with our paid vacation days as well). Plus, we don't get payout for unused sick time that we accrue over the years--so there isn't that added bonus for just showing up every day when it comes time to leave the company (by choice or by force).
So here's to those of us who always find a way to get to work. May our "amazing" good health and work ethic continue.